Fraser Valley – Women’s Soccer – Cascades cap exhibition trip with impressive win over NCAA’s Vandals
After a slow start to the preseason, the University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team bounced back with one of the most impressive exhibition results in program history.
The Cascades launched a stateside road swing with a 6-2 loss to the Eastern Washington Eagles on Friday in Cheney, Wash., but turned in a stellar performance on Sunday, defeating the Idaho Vandals 2-1 in Moscow, Idaho. Both opponents are NCAA Division I programs, and Sunday’s triumph was the first in team history vs. a Div. I side.
“Preseason is all about learning opportunities and progressing through adversity,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said. “The bounce-back is something I’m really proud of.”
EASTERN WASHINGTON 6, UFV 2
On Friday at Eastern Washington, a slow start did in the Cascades, as the Eagles built a 3-0 lead over the first nine minutes of play. UFV perked up as the game wore on, though, and hosts’ 19-14 edge in shots was indicative of a more evenly played contest than the final score indicated. The Cascades got goals from Bryana Buttar and Simi Lehal, with Brittney Zacharuk picking up an assist on Lehal’s goal. Maddie Morgan and Sarah Keister led the charge for the hosts, scoring twice apiece.
“We were punished early, but after that, I was pleased with how we played,” Giesbrecht said.
UFV 2, IDAHO 1
The Cascades flipped the script entirely on Sunday, striking for two early goals. In the fourth minute, Jashan Sandhar made an assertive run down the right wing and found Kelsey Mitchell for the finish. Shortly thereafter, Zacharuk’s corner curled directly into the net to double the lead.
The game was divided into three 30-minute segments, and after UFV carried the play over the first half-hour, the Vandals mounted a strong push over the latter segments and got back to within a goal. But that was as close as they would get.
Cascades keeper Joven Sandhu had a big save in the early minutes while the game was still scoreless, and Marianne Spring and Taylor Nekic spearheaded the defensive effort. UFV also got strong performances in the midfield from sophomore Tavia Jasper and rookie Buttar.
“It’s a good result for us,” Giesbrecht summarized. “Idaho is a good program – they’re athletic and well-coached, and they do well in the Big Sky conference. We want to play more D1’s in the future, and a win like this enhances our reputation and helps us get more games against tough opponents.”
The Cascades women’s soccer team resumes preseason play next Sunday, Aug. 18, at home vs. Northwest University. Game time is 5 p.m. at MRC Sports Complex, Field 4.